When we think of marriage, it may bring to mind a host of images, from bouquets and a wedding party, to children and companionship. Each person will view this institution from the lens of their own experiences and upbringing, presenting their own biases, preferences, and opinions when choosing whether or not to find someone to spend their lives with.
Prophet Muḥammad (s) has stated, “there is no institution in Islam, more beloved and dearer to Allah than marriage.” It is because this union is a means to help us fulfill our purpose in life – but how is it possible, that a relationship with another person (which can oftentimes be tumultuous and exhausting!) be a pathway to obtaining nearness to Allah, the Most High?
If a marriage starts with the purpose of attaining the pleasure of Allah (swt) then the two individuals will be a source of support for each other in gaining nearness towards Him. As believers, we should encourage our spouses in actions that are pleasing to Allah (swt) and keep each other in check, like a teammate where both have the same end goal.
Eventually, in marriage, Allah (swt) may bless a couple with children, and these children will also be a source of attaining closeness to Him, through the act of raising our children with the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, we can then be a part of creating a community that will become beacons for shining a light on their path and in preparation for Imam Mahdi (ajtfs).
Our purpose in life, nearness to Allah (swt), is not only a spiritual path, since Allah (swt) has created us not as only spiritual beings, but beings with physical and psychological needs as well.
Marriage, when treated as healthy companionship between two believers, can lead to peace and tranquility. Marriage allows us, through test and trial, differences of culture, upbringing, and opinion, to learn compassion, love, and mercy – all traits that will bring us a better understanding of Allah (swt). Through our interaction with others, as a spouse we must learn to act as a garment for each other, protecting and beautifying one another. We should not share our spouses’ challenges, faults, and mistakes, but rather raise them higher in the eyes of others by only speaking of the good in them.
Of course, it cannot be forgotten that a key purpose of marriage is the physical aspect of it, taking physical pleasure in this blessed union, for both man and woman. Imām Jaʿfar aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa) has said “Indeed, the people of heaven do not take delight in the pleasures of heaven more than sexual intercourse; neither food not drink has that much pleasure for them.” (Wasail ash-Shi’ah, vol 20, pg 23, no. 24929) The physical aspect of marriage, when each partner is content, can lead to a much more satisfying lifestyle and aid us in wanting to encourage our spouses on the path of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Marriage, and the formation of a family, should be a safe haven for believers, allowing this union to help us lead God centric lives.
“If anyone likes to meet Allah in purity, them he should meet Him with a wife.” (Wasail ash-Shi’ah, vol 14, p.25)